Christchurch City Council's Community, Recreation and Culture Committee will next week consider a series of recommendations in response to an independent Communication Audit Report commissioned earlier this year.
The review of the Council's communication function was commissioned by the Chief Executive in January. The aim of the review was to identify what the Council is doing well and what needs to improve, in particular: the processes, structures and systems used to communicate internally and externally.
The review found that the Council was doing an excellent job keeping people informed about the projects and services it delivers; it especially praised the Share an Idea community engagement initiative around the Draft Central City Plan. It also pointed to recent resident surveys which show residents do not understand the Council's decision-making process. The report makes a series of recommendations which it says outline "a need for Council (elected members and management) to adopt a culture of open communication and engagement with residents and stakeholders so that the Council can build understanding and mutual support for its objectives, plans and decisions".
Council staff have made a series of recommendations to address the issues outlined. A staff report will be considered next Tuesday (31 July 2012) by the Council's Community, Recreation and Culture Committee, before being presented to the full Council for endorsement. The recommendations in the staff report to the Committee are outlined at the end of this media release.
Chief Executive Tony Marryatt says the findings of the audit report are a timely reminder that the Council can always do a better job of keeping residents informed.
"It's important to engage with the community and we accept all of the findings of the review. In many cases, we had already identified the issues raised and taken steps to address them.
"Staff have recommended a number of actions to address the issues raised and these will be considered by Councillors at next week's committee meeting. This exercise was actually something our Communications Team was planning to initiate in the middle of 2010 but then the earthquakes intervened.
"We should always be asking: what can we do better? That's good practice and we have done that by commissioning this review," Mr Marryatt says.
Community, Recreation and Culture Committee Chairman Yani Johanson says involving the community in Council decision-making and keeping residents informed is very important and the Council needs to make sure it gets this right.
"I look forward to the committee having the opportunity to consider the staff responses to the audit report next week. It is my belief that good communication and transparent engagement is critical both in normal time, and even more so in a post-disaster environment. The report raises a number of well-known but significant issues which I believe are essential for the Council to address in order to improve the good governance of our city."
The full report and staff recommendations to next week's committee meeting can be viewed at www.ccc.govt.nz
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